Prime Real Estate for Cottontail the Bunny (Reading, PA)
Yesterday morning, my wife, Tina, screamed with excitement, "Come see this!" As I approached our kitchen window, I saw a bunny digging a nest. Tina, the animal lover, was mesmerized by this bunny and I think she felt honored it chose a spot right outside the kitchen window to make a nest. I realized I might have waited a few days too long to mow the grass!
Thinking about it, I realized it was quite a piece of prime real estate for "Cottontail" the Bunny (yes, my wife already named her). In addition to the long grass, we've got a few prolific raspberry bushes nearby along with my wife's unsuccessful garden. I say "unsuccessful" because I observed my wife pull 1 strawberry and 2 tomatoes from that garden this entire year. Ask the well-fed birds, squirrels and bunnies in our neighborhood, however, and they would consider her garden quite successful.
I must admit it was interesting to see this bunny at work, but it presented a few concerns. First of all, how am I supposed to mow the lawn and how close to this nest can I get? My wife has banned me from going within several feet of Cottontail's home. I would never hear the end of it if a baby bunny turned up injured from the lawnmower or worse! This patch of yard should look interesting a month from now.
Tina started to joke (but I think she's serious) about putting a mini flower pot and a "Home Sweet Home" sign right outside the nest. I assured her the bunnies would be happier without these extras.
As a home inspector around Reading, PA, I'm usually looking for other rodents- not bunnies! I'll inspect a home looking for signs of mice or squirrels that can actually do damage to a property. I can't say I know too much about bunnies, so I decided to do some research.
I found a great website called Our Backyard Wildlife and learned some neat facts about the Eastern Cottontail bunnies and their nests. They breed from March to September. The mom-to-be will dig a shallow depression in the earth and line it with grass, dried leaves, and fur from her body. She then hides the nest under a layer of grass and dried leaves. I know if my wife hadn't seen this bunny digging her nest, we would not have known it was even there!
Unfortunately, we didn't get a photo of the nest before the bunny covered it up as Tina didn't want to startled her by opening the window. This picture below shows how difficult it is to see a nest. It's located right in the middle-right of the photo.
One more thing I should say about these nests. If you find a nest or baby bunnies, leave them alone. The mom will only visit them for about 5 minutes a day to nurse. She leaves the nest for the rest of the day to keep predators from finding the nest and she does stay closeby. If you aren't sure if the babies are orphaned or not, you can put an "x" over the nest with 2 pieces of string and if the "x" is disturbed by the next day, you'll know mom most likely came by for a visit. If the bunnies are orphaned, you can check out this website at www.rabbit.org to learn about what to do with them.
In the meantime, Cottontail is going to enjoy her prime real estate!
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